How did the different types of quarks get their names?

The names given to the different flavors of quarks are arbitrary. There is no particular reason for these names, and most scientists just use symbols such as 'u' for up quarks and 'd' for down quarks. Scientists first discovered two quarks with different electric charges and named them up and down. Strange quarks were discovered next and they lived a lot longer than the up and down quarks before they decayed. Their name comes from their "strangely" long lifetime. The origin of the charm quark name is because of a whim, I like to think it was because it made the mathematics in the theory work like a charm. The next two quarks to be discovered had similar electrical properties to down and up quarks, and so were called bottom and top. In the past, some called the bottom quark – beauty, and the top quark – truth. Today, most scientists refer to them as bottom and top.

Play Subatomic Match to match the characters to their quark flavor alter egos.

Different flavors of quarks

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